Isaan barbecued pork with chilli dipping sauce recipe

Isaan barbecued pork with chilli dipping sauce recipe



For a relatively simple marinade plus sauce combo, this packs quite a punch. It’s inspired by a recipe from David Thompson, the master of Thai cooking who has brought us so many tears of joy and pain over the years -  and he’s never one to hold back on flavour. We’ve toned down the original to make the chilli sauce a little more approachable but the Isaan area of north-east Thailand is known for its bold, hot and sour flavours (just consider a green papaya salad or larb of chicken) and we’re honouring that. The use of ground roast rice – almost in the place of a nutty spice – is also characteristic of the area. This is a great recipe to multiply upwards for a crowd – slice it and serve it in lettuce cups or over rice, with stir-fried greens or an Asian slaw. Easy on the eye and lip-smackingly good. 


Serves 2 as a main course, 4 if part of a spread  


For the sauce: 

1 tsp rice (we use black sticky rice), dry roasted in a frying pan and ground 

2 long red chillies, finely processed 

2 birds eye chillies, finely processed 

1 clove garlic, minced 

2 tbs fish sauce 

1 tbs brown sugar 

1 tbs tamarind paste 

1 small shallot, minced finely 


For the pork 

Half bunch of coriander, washed and processed  

1 stalk lemongrass, white part finely processed 

1 clove garlic, minced 

0.25 tsp black pepper, ground 

350g pork fillet, trimmed 

2 tsp brown sugar 

2 tsp fish sauce 

2 tsp kecap manis 

350g pork fillet, trimmed 

To serve: baby gem lettuce leaves, coriander sprigs and cucumber slices 



For the sauce, mix all ingredients and taste for desired balance. 

For the pork, mix all ingredients up to the kecap manis and use this mixture to marinate the pork – overnight if you can but otherwise for at least half an hour or so.  

Preheat a barbecue, oil it lightly and cook the pork for about six minutes a side, depending on thickness. We wouldn’t advocate eating raw pork but still would rather keep it on the side of juicy and blushing. Rest for 5-10 minutes, covered, then slice thinly and serve, drizzled with the sauce, offering lettuce leaves, coriander and cucumber on the side for wrapping. 

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